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Is Xbox Game Pass Ultimate worth it?

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Shawn Farner

Xbox Game Pass has a few subscription options available, and therein lies the problem. You can look at the benefits of each, but you may have a hard time deciding which is right for you. Is a normal Xbox Game Pass for Console subscription going to cover everything you want? Should you go for the PC option? Is Xbox Game Pass Ultimate worth it?

Today we’re looking at Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, the most expensive tier at $14.99 per month. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate packs in a lot of perks, but depending on what you want from an Xbox Game Pass subscription, it may or may not fit your needs.

How do you know if an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription is right for you? Let’s get into it.

Do you pay for Xbox Live Gold already?

Xbox Live Gold is a console-specific service for those who play on Xbox. By paying for Xbox Live Gold, you unlock online multiplayer gaming, as well as four free games per month through Xbox Live Games With Gold. This subscription typically costs $9.99 a month or $59.99 per year. With Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, it’s included.

It’s tough to math out exactly how much of a discount you’re getting on everything in Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, moreso because you can’t really put a price tag on xCloud (more on that later). However, for simplicity’s sake, we’ll leave xCloud out of the equation. By paying $14.99 a month for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, you’re essentially getting half off on three services that would otherwise cost you $30 total. That means you’re getting Xbox Live Gold for the same price as you would paying for a year up front. And you get that without putting up that entire $60 in advance.

If you already pay for Xbox Live Gold anyway and you want to subscribe to Xbox Game Pass, the Ultimate tier seems like a no brainer. Even if you only want Xbox Game Pass for Console ($9.99 per month) and Xbox Live Gold ($9.99 per month), you’re still getting a deal.

Do you play on both Xbox One and PC?

If you’re one of those lucky duck Xbox gamers who has both a console and a PC, Xbox Game Pass has you covered in both places. Xbox Game Pass for Console has over 100 titles available at any given time, including Microsoft’s first-party stuff as well as loads of games from third parties. Xbox Game Pass for PC… also has over 100 titles available at any given time. Same deal. Xbox Game Pass for Console rings up at $9.99 per month. Xbox Game Pass for PC also rings up at $9.99 per month.

You can probably see where this is going.

If you pay for each subscription separately, that adds up to $20 per month, and that doesn’t include the Xbox Live Gold subscription you might want on console. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is just $14.99 per month. The laws of math state that Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, by bundling the two together at a cheaper price, offers more value.

Do you want access to Cloud Gaming?

If you want to check out Microsoft’s game streaming service, xCloud, there’s only one way to do it right now. Fortunately, that one way is packaged with some other stuff you might be paying for anyway. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate includes Xbox Game Pass for Console, Xbox Game Pass for PC, Xbox Live Gold, and Cloud Gaming at $14.99 per month. Microsoft’s Cloud Gaming service gives you access to over 100 games via your Android smartphone and the internet (though Microsoft is reportedly working like the devil to get iOS users onboard). These are only games playable on Xbox One at the moment, though Microsoft will undoubtedly upgrade its servers once the Xbox Series X and S are on the scene.

There are few scenarios where Xbox Game Pass Ultimate doesn’t add up

Really, I can only think of one or two instances where you’d want to pass on Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. The first is if you’re primarily a PC gamer who doesn’t want Cloud Gaming. PC gamers have free access to online multiplayer outside of Xbox Live Gold, so if you can get away with paying just $9.99 per month for Xbox Game Pass for PC, that’s obviously cheaper.

The other is if you’re a more casual console gamer who doesn’t engage in online multiplayer, and again, doesn’t want Cloud Gaming. Xbox Game Pass for Console will run you $9.99 per month in that case. If you stick to the single-player stuff, you’ll still have plenty to check out in the Game Pass library.

Otherwise, you can look at everything Xbox Game Pass Ultimate bundles together — Xbox Game Pass for Console, Xbox Game Pass for PC, Xbox Live Gold, Cloud Gaming — and consider how much each of those costs separately. If you want any of the two at the same time, you’re either breaking even or saving money with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. It’s a heck of a deal. In fact, it’s one of the best deals in gaming right now.

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate costs $14.99 per month. You can purchase a subscription here. (paid link)

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